Diterpene Resin Acids and Olefins in Calabrian Pine (Pinus nigra subsp. laricio (Poiret) Maire) Oleoresin: GC-MS Profiling of Major Diterpenoids in Different Plant Organs, Molecular Identification and Expression Analysis of Diterpene Synthase Genes

Plants (Basel). 2021 Nov 5;10(11):2391. doi: 10.3390/plants10112391.


A quali-quantitative analysis of diterpenoid composition in tissues obtained from different organs of Pinus nigra subsp. laricio (Poiret) Maire (Calabrian pine) was carried out. Diterpene resin acids were the most abundant diterpenoids across all the examined tissues. The same nine diterpene resin acids were always found, with the abietane type prevailing on the pimarane type, although their quantitative distribution was found to be remarkably tissue-specific. The scrutiny of the available literature revealed species specificity as well. A phylogeny-based approach allowed us to isolate four cDNAs coding for diterpene synthases in Calabrian pine, each of which belonging to one of the four groups into which the d3 clade of the plants' terpene synthases family can be divided. The deduced amino acid sequences allowed predicting that both monofunctional and bifunctional diterpene synthases are involved in the biosynthesis of diterpene resin acids in Calabrian pine. Transcript profiling revealed differential expression across the different tissues and was found to be consistent with the corresponding diterpenoid profiles. The isolation of the complete genomic sequences and the determination of their exon/intron structures allowed us to place the diterpene synthase genes from Calabrian pine on the background of current ideas on the functional evolution of diterpene synthases in Gymnosperms.

Keywords: Calabrian pine; Pinus nigra subsp. laricio (Poiret) Maire; diterpene resin acid; diterpene synthase; diterpenoids; genomic organization of gymnosperm diterpene synthases; pine oleoresin.